About $277 billion or so " that is, if the user is the one billionth GSM user. That's the way the Deutsche Bank calculates the worth of the GSM worldwide annual revenues in a white paper published to commemorate the milestone reached this week.
In a socio-economic study of the impact of GSM released at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes, the bank predicted that GSM revenues will reach $500 billion in 2005.
"There are now more GSM mobile handsets in daily use than the total number of personal computers and televisions combined," the GSM Association said in announcing the bank's study. "Driven by GSM, the number of mobile subscribers exceeded the number of fixed telephone lines for the first time in 2003. In the last 12 months alone, GSM added nearly 198 million new users."
GSM manufacturers from around the world chimed in to celebrate the growth of the European-developed standard. The wireless standard came about after European businessmen complained they had to have a separate mobile phone for each country as they moved across Western Europe.
Etienne Fouques of Alcatel, president of the Mobile Communications Group, said the new explosive growth of GSM is located in lower-penetration countries " primarily China, but also in India, Russia, Africa and South America. In Latin America GSM, which started off from a relatively small base, is growing almost 150 percent annually.
Author of the Deutsche Bank report, Gareth Jenkins, said particularly far-reaching consequences of GSM are felt in emerging economies. "The deployment of GSM has helped to bridge the digital divide and bring modern telecommunications services to chronically under-served communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America," said Jenkins, who is senior telecoms analyst at the German bank.
In the U. S. GSM is the underlying technology at mobile phone service providers T-Mobile, Cingular Wireless, and AT&T Wireless. Verizon Wireless and Sprint use the CDMA-based standard while Nextel utilizes its own proprietary scheme.
Jenkins and the GSM Association took advantage of the celebration of the one billionth GSM user to lord it over its CDMA competition stating that the some 200 million GSM subscribers signed up in the past 12 months were "more than the second-placed mobile technology (CDMA) had in its global customer base at the year-end."
The CDMA standard, however, has recently been coming on strong after its chief-promoter, Qualcomm, finally emerged from years of agonizing struggle to bring its standard to market. It has won major contracts in China and Japan and in the U. S. its robust EV DO high-speed data service has recently been introduced by Verizon Wireless.